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Column: On playing blackjack (and other college preparations)

I always thought the most difficult college-related thing I’d ever have to do was decide which college to attend. Now, I have found out that preparing for college is where the real difficulty lies. 

It’s hard to even know what to prepare for, as I am the oldest sibling, and my mother’s most recent venture in college – getting her doctorate – didn’t exactly classify as the average experience.

My primary concern lies in funding. I believe many other students shared my ill fortune in the field of scholarships. As a result, I currently work two summer jobs. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy both of them, but work and play tend to disagree, so I haven’t had nearly as much leisure time as I have had in previous summers.

For alternative means of fiscal gain, I turned to the stock market. This wasn’t my first rodeo by any means, but I have never been gifted with any sort of beginner’s luck. Most of my first investments did not pan out. In fact, only two of my investments ever have. Xcel Energy and Sun Power have been my cash crops, but with their combined earnings, I am only narrowly in the black.

In addition to the stock market, I ventured out into a realm which some may argue is much less of a gamble than that – I tried my hand at blackjack. Now, luck had never really been on my side, so I thought my odds needed to be evened a bit. Long before I was able to legally attend casinos, I took an interest in the art of counting cards. My dad and I have been practicing counting cards for quite some time, and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. I’ve tested my strategies in the casino a few times now, but all I ever managed to do was break even. Luck of the draw, I guess.

Money, however important, is not my only concern about college. Housing is next on my list of things to worry about. Though I applied for housing in mid-December, I did not hear back from the college until a few days ago. I will be staying in a three-resident dorm room alongside Perham’s own Seth Stafki and Riley Tostenson. This is the place where I will be taking residence for the next year, so I hope it’s a good place to live.

Another thing I have been doing to prepare for college is collecting supplies, both simple and complex. For example, I recently purchased a desktop computer. Now I have a laptop to take notes on during class, and a cool desktop for games. Okay, maybe I didn’t buy the computer for college, but I may find some use for it other than entertainment. 

I also have acquired a few tool sets for any dorm maintenance needs I may come across. My mother’s friend Annette Rasmussen gave me a “college readiness” set as a graduation present. This set came with a variety of not often thought of, yet useful, items – silverware sets, power strips, sewing kits, first aid kits, reading lights, extension cords and even bed sheets.

I’m pretty intimidated by the thought of going off to college soon, but I know that it will be a fun experience. I still have much to prepare for and it probably wouldn’t hurt to review some of the curriculum from my previous year before going into my first semester. Then again, its summer! Why should I be doing math when it’s sunny and 80 degrees out?  

Kiowa Wieser-Matthews, Focus Intern